Just last week, there was a big storm in Rockford, Ill and students prepared to track the storm using Twitter. The new software was developed by Purdue University, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service. the all huddled around laptops to analyze the amount of tweets coming from the storm area. They were searching for keywords such as “damage” or “tornado” and pictures of funnel clouds.
Social media can track a storm’s path of destruction just as radar does. Looking at the storms tracks and the people tweeting; it maps out nicely where the damage has actually occurred. The National Weather Service hopes that this new software will help warn people of the damages of the storm approaching.
After the storm occurred, they pulled up a map showing blue-green blobs near where the storm had occurred. This was where the most tweets were that had keywords related to safety, security, and severe weather.
Like any program, there are still kinks to work out but the general idea for a specific algorithm to aid in storm preparedness and awareness will hopefully save many lives in the future.